Matthew DeLisa
William L. Lewis Professor of Engineering
Matthew DeLisa




School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Cornell University
254 Olin Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853


Web Sites

Department Profile
Lab Website

Research Description

The DeLisa Research Group (DLRG) aims to engineer the protein machinery of simple bacteria for solving complex problems in biology and medicine.  They focus on the molecular machines of protein biosynthesis both as a toolbox for the discovery, design and manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals and as targets for reprogramming cellular physiology. One approach is to exploit untapped mechanistic features of existing cellular machinery such as intrinsic protein quality control mechanisms that ensure correct folding and assembly of native and non-native proteins. This approach is helping to illuminate important structure-function relationships for protein machinery and is providing a basis by which the machines themselves can be harnessed for producing novel biotechnological products. A second related approach is to engineer microbial cells with unnatural protein machinery, thereby expanding the repertoire of useful biological and chemical functions far beyond those bestowed by nature. Bacterial cells armed with these new functionalities are becoming a robust platform for the cost-effective biosynthesis of complex therapeutic proteins and vaccines for a range of human diseases.

Recent Publications

Ollis, A. A., S. Zhang, A. C. Fisher, *Matthew DeLisa*. 2014. Engineered oligosaccharyltransferases with greatly relaxed acceptor-site specificity.  Nat. Chem. Biol. 10 (10): 816-822.

Portnoff, A. D., E. A. Stephens, J. D. Varner, *Matthew DeLisa*. 2014. Ubiquibodies: synthetic E3 ubiquitin ligases endowed with unnatural substrate specificity for targeted protein silencing. J. Biol. Chem. 289(11): 7844-7855.

Rocco, M. A., D. Waraho-Zhmayev, *Matthew DeLisa*. 2012. Twin-arginine translocase mutations that suppress folding quality control and permit export of misfolded substrate proteins. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 109(33): 13392-13397.

Valderrama-Rincon, J., A. C. Fisher, J. H. Merritt, Y. Y. Fan, C. A. Reading, K. D. Chhiba, C. Heiss, P. Azadi, M. Aebi, *Matthew DeLisa*. 2012. An engineered eukaryotic protein glycosylation pathway in Escherichia coli. Nat. Chem. Biol. 8 (5): 434-436.

Chen, D. J., N. Osterrieder, S. M. Metzger, E. Buckles, A. M. Doody, *Matthew DeLisa*, D.A. Putnam. 2010. Delivery of foreign antigens by engineered outer membrane vesicle vaccines. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107 (7): 3099-3104.

*Matthew DeLisa*, R. J. Conrado. 2009. Synthetic metabolic pipelines. Nat. Biotechnol. 27 (8): 728-729.

Waraho, D., *Matthew DeLisa*. 2009. Versatile selection technology for intracellular protein-protein interactions mediated by a unique bacterial hitchhiker transport mechanism. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 106 (10): 3692-7.

Panahandeh, S., Maurer, C., Moser, M., *Matthew DeLisa*, Müller, M. 2008. Following the path of a twin-arginine precursor along the TatABC translocase of Escherichia coli. J. Biol. Chem. 283 (48): 33267-75.

Marrichi, M., Camacho, L., Russell, D.G., *Matthew DeLisa*. 2008. Genetic toggling of alkaline phosphatase folding reveals signal peptides for all major modes of transport across the inner membrane of bacteria.
J. Biol. Chem. 283 (50): 35223-35.